Blueberry jam is not hard

At its simplest, jam is really quite easy, usually just fruit, sugar and some lemon. Did you try no-can strawberry jam? You might remember that jam happens from the first step, cooking the fruit, and the second step (canning it in a waterbath) is completely optional.

Summer marches on and I’m plum(b) crazy over blueberries, especially since I’ve hopped on the U-pick wagon.

I got about 12 pints of IPM (integrated pest management, i.e. spot treating pest management rather than just spraying for the hell of it) blueberries for $8.42. Do you realize how excellent a deal that is?

Plum skins are rich in pectin, as you’ll learn from my fave preserverlady’s book. I decided to throw a few plums in the blueberry jam to help it set better. I don’t have a single picture of those marvellous plums (from same pick-your-own outing), but Doris does. And here’s the plum ginger sorbet that happened with my last, precious quart.

Blueberry plum basil jam

yield 2 half pints and some change

1. Combine the following in a heavy-bottomed, stainless steel or enameled cast-iron pot:

  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 5 or 6 small, slightly underripe sweet plums, halved and pitted
  • 1 cup raw sugar

2. Let sit for an hour to macerate

3. Place pot over medium heat to dissolve any remaining sugar granules, and add 1/2 Tbs strained lemon juice.

4. Raise heat to med-high and boil mixture for about 10 minutes. Add basil* a few minutes before you take it off the heat. Stir somewhere between frequently and occasionally (just to keep the sugar from scorching the bottom.) You’ll know your jam is done when the bubbles have spaced out, and they look slightly larger and become darker. Remove pot from heat.

* I threw 4 or 5 whole basil leaves in with the intent to remove them while the pot sat thickening. I couldn’t find them when all was said and done, but I didn’t really care that there were going to be a few extra basil-y bites of the jam. If you’re not keen on basil chunks, just use a whole sprig (not tearing off individual leaves) or tie off some damp cheesecloth around a few leaves and throw it in the pot.

5. Let thicken for 5 minutes then spoon mixture into two sterilized jars. I put overage in another jar for the fridge. Seal with two-piece lids. Process for 10 min in boiling waterbath.

6. Alternatively, you could just throw the mixture in a pint jar (and an extra for overage) and put them both in the fridge (no-can blueberry jam!) Your fridge jam will keep longer if you sterilize the jar first, which means boiling it for 10 min.